Sinbad, The New Rock ‘N’ Roll Panto.
The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich.
30 November 2016
Even though I knew of its reputation, this was my first rock and roll Panto at the Wolsey, and it made me regret all the ones I had missed! With a talented ensemble that move seamlessly from playing roles to playing instruments, the genius of the show is that the songs are not dropped in; they are relevant and comment on the action. And, aside from the occasional disco classic, it is pure rock and roll- none of your bland pop here!
And it is enormous, unadulterated fun. Any show that names Sinbad’s ship The Saucy Sausage is a paradise of entendre's, and the adult humour makes you wonder how they get away with it before the watershed! Some of them I couldn’t even repeat here out of context! But it’s the twinkling in the eyes and the knowing grins that let you in on the naughtiness, and there are a couple of glorious double acts.
As Sinbad and Princess Pearl, Steve Rushton and Daniella Piper are everything you want the romantic leads to be, the audience, (mainly!), on their side. Graham Kent is a fantastic Dame Donna, superbly matched by the hilarious Rob Falconer as Tinbad the Tailor, in love with his Dame, a pairing made in Panto Heaven! However, my favourite couple were Adam Langstaff as Bosun Tommy and Lucy Wells as Jade, their second act rendition of Living on A Prayer, (complete with hilarious smoke machine work), raising the roof. And Dan Le Cruz has great fun as Sinistro, the baddie of the piece, with a superb rock vocal.
Some of the narrative links need a little more energy, the pace and urgency can drop after a particularly strong number and, in line with many pantomimes throughout the country, the show is a little too long. And perhaps it lacks a little of that special magic you get in traditional pantomime, there is no room for poignancy. But forget critical analysis. The singing bird of paradise puppets in the ledges took me to Muppet Show delight and reduced me to helpless and uncontrollable giggles- and that’s the test of a good panto. And of course, there is the great British audience. The lady in the front row who brought the show to a halt by talking to a puppet rat, the child who, at the moment of Sinbad and Pearl’s romantic kiss, shouted “Eww that’s gross!”, and the game lad in the front row who was picked on by the Dame and the cast, all conspire to lift even the coldest of winter blues. The Wolsey hold the record for the longest running pantomime in the UK, so you’ve plenty of time to go up the gang plank to the Saucy Sausage; it’s a ride you will thoroughly enjoy!
Runs until 28 January 2017